Priscilla Margaretta (Maurer) Burrage, 79, of Essex, Vermont passed away Tuesday, June 22, 2009 at The Vermont Respite House in Williston after fighting cancer for several years.
She was born in Framingham, Mass. on December 10, 1929, the daughter of Dr. Gordon Bostwick Maurer and Mrs. Florence G. Maurer, and grew up in Margaretville.
Her father was the community doctor until his untimely death in a hunting accident in 1938. Her mother, ‘Polly’, kept a home in Margaretville until her death in 1968. In Priscilla’s early years, the family home was a veritable hospital until the Maurers helped found the first dedicated facility located at the west end of Orchard Street.
Priscilla went to grade school and high school in Margaretville, graduating with high honors, and became valedictorian in 1947. She attended MIT, one of 10 women in a freshman class of about 900. After graduating in 1951 with a General Engineering degree, Priscilla joined a research team investigating combustion characteristics in jet engines.
Shortly after her marriage to Peter Burrage in 1962, they were both employed by IBM and moved to Poughkeepsie. In 1967 they transferred to the IBM facility near Burlington, Vt. from which Priscilla retired in 1991. In her years at IBM she managed a technical publications department and later was an engineer in plant design and layout.
Educational pursuits were an activity Priscilla enjoyed and, at the age of 50, she earned a master’s degree in adult learning from the University of Vermont. After retiring, she took multiple classes in Spanish and painting, was a volunteer driver for Essex Meals on Wheels, and also for the American Cancer Society ‘Road to Recovery’ program and worked on Vermont Public Radio and Public Television pledge drives. Priscilla was also an enthusiastic traveler and enjoyed visiting different cultures both ancient and modern.
Since the late ‘50s in Cambridge, Mass., Priscilla had a keen interest in Scottish Country Dancing which she did with grace and skill. She became a dance teacher and for 40 years, regularly taught classes in Vermont and elsewhere. Priscilla’s characteristic sense of humor, wit and sunny smile will be remembered by many.
Priscilla maintained her father’s hunting cabin as a summer home in Margaretville, and throughout her adult life took much pleasure in returning to the village and the hills in which she was raised.
Surviving are her husband of 47 years, Peter; their son, Michael, a daughter, Ann, her husband, Patrick Theriault and grandchildren, Melanie, Austin, Nathan and Owen, all of Essex, Vt. Surviving are also her close cousins, Dr. Katherine (Hess) Halloran of Lexington, Mass. and Mrs. Carolyn (Hess) Westerfield of North Haven, Conn, and their families, all of whom continue to visit Margaretville in the summer months.
Priscilla was predeceased by her uncle and aunt, Dr. Orvan Hess and Mrs. Carol (Maurer) Hess and also by her aunt, Miss Mabel Hess, all past residents of Margaretville.
A memorial gathering to celebrate her life was held in Essex, Vermont on July 1, 2009.